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Nobel Prize medal

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was jointly awarded on Wednesday to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for their 2012 work on Crispr-Cas9, a method to edit DNA. The announcement marks the first time the award has gone to two women.

“This year’s prize is about rewriting the code of life,” Goran K. Hansson, the secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said as he announced the names of the laureates.

Dr. Charpentier and Dr. Doudna, only the sixth and seventh women in history to win a chemistry prize, did much of the pioneering work to turn molecules made by microbes into a tool for customizing genes — whether in microbes, plants, animals or even humans.

“I’m over the moon, I’m in shock,” Dr. Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said at a news conference on Wednesday.